Your Brand: “Entrepreneur” — A National Perspective

Robert and I speak with international authors, experts and innovators — sharing advice that helps entrepreneurs become more successful. But, what often goes unsaid is that part of every entrepreneur’s success stems from the strength, reach and consistency of the brand “entrepreneur”. If you describe yourself, or more importantly, if others label you as an entrepreneur — you get branded with a series of very specific skills, characteristics and motivations. That’s why we’re always keeping an eye open for how entrepreneurs are branded, individually and collectively.

So, in BusinessCast Podcast #107 we chatted with Maclean’s Magazine’s National Editor, Andrew Coyne.  Maclean’s Magazine is Canada’s only national weekly current affairs magazine and Andrew is one of a few people with a good sense for the pulse of the Nation. So it seemed only fitting to gather his “take” on entrepreneurs, the importance of entrepreneurs to our economy and the challenges facing entrepreneurs today.

Among his reflections, Andrew highlights examples and key sources of innovation — including Tesla Motors — and blogs/podcasts like the BusinessCast!

Listen to BusinessCast Podcast #107 and you’ll get a picture of how you, and all entrepreneurs, come across to the rest of Canada.  To read more from Andrew Coyne, check out his insightful blog.

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win a Blackberry Bold! All it takes is 100 words (or less) on why a Blackberry Bold will help your business. Send your note to Robert@businesscast.ca.

Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

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Cost Savings for Entrepreneurs

We know the cost pressures that entrepreneurs are facing today. So, Robert and I sat down to identify practical advice that entrepreneurs can take to save costs now. And, that’s why BusinessCast Podcast #100 – Cost Cutting for Entrepreneurs is very straight-forward.

Of course, keep in-mind, before cutting costs across your company, ask yourself two key questions:

  • Are we acting as efficiently as we can?
  • Are we doing anything that we should not be doing?

Often answering these questions for yourself generates the greatest cost-savings for your business.

Finally, here are two other good resources for cost-savings tips:

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win a Blackberry Bold!

Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Email Marketing Bootcamp – Part 2

Email Marketing…the Right Way!

In BusinessCast podcast episode #93 Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs – Bootcamp Part 1 our guest Matthew Vernhout, email guru and voice behind the authority EmailKarma.net spelled out how entrepreneurs — of all sizes and across industries — can develop email marketing campaigns that truly work. In Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs – Bootcamp Part 1 Matthew addressed:

  • The key players involved in email marketing campaigns
  • How to establish relevant and measurable goals
  • How to build and grow your database of email subscribers

Now in Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs – Bootcamp Part 2, Matthew addresses the final stages of any profitable and effective email marketing campaign:

  • Ensuring that email actually arrives after you send it
  • Getting your emails opened
  • Ensuring your email is acted upon
  • Measuring success and improving follow up campaigns

This bootcamp series is an absolute must for any entrepreneur wondering when/how to leap into or optimize their email marketing.

BTW, have you listened to BusinessCast episode #94 — Franchising for Entrepreneurs? Robert and I chatted with Lorraine McLachlan, President and CEO of the Canadian Franchise Association (www.cfa.ca). Lorraine shares an insight into this effective and potentially recession-proof business model.

Be sure to join us at the CFA’s Canadian Franchise Show on February 21 and 22. We’ll be at the show gathering compelling stories, lessons and insights for you from franchisors and franchisees.

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win a Blackberry Bold!

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Email Marketing Bootcamp Part 1

Email is part of every entrepreneur’s life. But, email marketing remains a mystery for most. Why? Because to do it cost-effectively and to achieve the right business objectives has become increasingly complex. That’s where our guest comes in…

In BusinessCast podcast episode #93 Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs – Bootcamp Part 1 our guest Matthew Vernhout, email guru and voice behind the authority EmailKarma.net spells out how entrepreneurs — of all sizes and across industries — can develop email marketing campaigns that truly work. In Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs – Bootcamp Part 1 Matthew addresses:

  • The key players involved in any successful email marketing campaign
  • How to establish relevant and measurable goals
  • How to build and grow your database of email subscribers

In a few weeks, Matthew will be back to address the final stages of any profitable and effective email marketing campaign. So, in Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs – Bootcamp Part 2, Matthew discusses how entrepreneurs can optimize their campaigns by:

  • Ensuring that email actually arrives after you send it
  • Getting your emails opened
  • Ensuring your email is acted upon
  • Measuring success and improving follow up campaigns

You’ll enjoy this, our first ‘bootcamp’ series because it mixes some high-level approaches and some practical to-do’s — all of which will help your email marketing campaigns work better for you. Chances are you’ll also be inspired by Matthew because he shares our philosophy of business which is: “by sharing best practices and tools, every entrepreneur wins!”

Make sure that you listen to next week’s episode as well — particularly if you’ve ever thought about franchising your business or investing in a franchise. Robert and I chat with Lorraine MacLachlan, President and CEO of the Canadian Franchise Association (www.cfa.ca). Lorraine brings passion and excitement to the topic of franchising. And, the timing couldn’t be better because the CFA is hosing the Canadian Franchise Show on February 21 and 22. FYI, Robert and I will be at the show gathering compelling stories, lessons and insights for you from franchisors and franchisees.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

New Research: Speed is Critical When Nurturing Leads

Robert and I speak frequently about the best ways to attract and retain customers. In fact, the subject is so topical now and so often written about that a new(ish) term is being used — “lead nurturing”. The good people at Marketing Sherpa, who we sourced yesterday about a recent email study, have conducted some research about best practices for effectively nurturing leads. Here are their key findings:

1) Use several media to establish and maintain relationships with leads. While this finding isn’t anything new, it confirms that, if you want to have a meaningful impact, you need to use different channels and methods. Email, telemarketing and direct mail are the media that the study highlights.

2) Respond to leads generated online quickly…in fact, very quickly. While many organizations contact online leads within 24 hours, it turns that to ‘establish contact’ you need to follow up within minutes!

While the study focused on “calling” leads, unfortunately, it did not cover other ways of following up. One way that many entrepreneurs are using is email confirmation/follow up that is triggered immediately upon receiving a request. This method serves as a quick, personalized and cost-effective form of contact that isn’t as intrusive as phone calls can be.

3) Assess the quality of your leads. Surprisingly, the study found that few organizations actually evaluate or rate their leads. Of course, this provides a great opportunity for you, the entrepreneur. Specifically, if your competitors aren’t applying this type of discipline, here’s your chance to leapfrog ahead of them.

Robert and I will be devoting future podcasts to the different stages of lead nurturing. In the mean time, check out the Business Cast Podcast archives for a several shows devoted to attracting and retaining new leads and customers.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs

When Robert and I had Matthew Vernhout from Email Karma (www.emailkarma.net) on the BusinessCast, we tackled the very “hot” topic of Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs.

We wanted to better understand how email can help entrepreneurs establish and build strong business relationships online.

With Matt’s help, we unearthed some of the key issues and misperceptions about email and email marketing. Moreover, we got a handle on just how complex effective email marketing can be along with plenty of practical tips and advice from an email marketing guru.

So, here are a handful of some critical lessons in a Q&A format:

Q: Why should an entrepreneur consider/use email as part of their marketing efforts?

A: Email, when developed and delivered responsibly, is: 

  • Efficient (i.e. it can deliver marketing results)
  • Cost-effective
  • Immediate
  • Measurable
  • Easy to use

Q: What are some of the critical issues that entrepreneurs should be aware of so that they can hone their email marketing efforts?

A: Entrepreneurs need to address ways of:

  • Ensuring email actually lands in the intended email box
  • Building and sustaining a database of people who look forward to receiving email
  • Setting and maintaining a deployment schedule that provides the best results
  • Periodically testing elements of email to achieve the best results

Q: What are some of the greatest misperceptions about email marketing that can potentially damage an entrepreneur’s relationship building efforts?

A: Just because you send out email, you can not assume that your email:

  • Always gets delivered to the email boxes you are targeting
  • Always arrives when you need it to arrive
  • Recipients see the email the way you designed it
  • Recipients will always actively engage with your email

Matthew strongly recommends using the services of responsible email marketing services – which allow you to delegate the tasks of developing and delivering email to companies that can do it most cost-effectively. Find a list of email marketing services (organized by county) at a useful resource developed by the email marketer’s club.

In the next few weeks, we’re going to have Matt back in the BusinessCast bagel shop and we’re going to run through a very practical ‘soup to nuts’ scenario – whereby we cover the main points of an effective campaign in case-study format. So, if you’re planning an email marketing campaign, looking to hone your existing campaign or if you’ve been looking for an excuse to launch your first campaign, let us know. We could use your campaign as the focus for our discussion. Make sure you also listen to the show, Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes